New York High School: Mary Louis Academy

Final girls basketball poll

March, 26, 2012
After winning the State Federation title last year, Nazareth fell short this season, by falling in the semifinals. Still, the Lady Kingsmen end the season as our top team, as they were the best from day one to the final day. Here's the final poll.

1. Nazareth (18-4)/(LW: 1): Nazareth had a season it will want to forget, because of the tragedy and distractions it faced, and now has to turn its attention to try to keep its school open as it faces closure.

2. Christ the King (15-14)/(LW: 2): Christ the King will be right back in the mix next year as it has one of the most talented sophomores in the city in Sierra Calhoun and other strong players on its roster returning.

3. Moore Catholic (22-6)/(LW: 3): Moore Catholic continues to be one of the best programs in New York City but will have to try to rebound next season without the services of Christina Rubin and Jamie O'Hare.

4. Bishop Ford (22-6)/(LW: 4): Bishop Ford is destined for more success in the future and brings back plenty of strong pieces. There's no reason to think Bishop Ford can't contend for the league title next season.

5. Molloy (19-10)/(LW: 5): Molloy had a great first season under head coach Scott Lagas and will try to duplicate that next season. It has some key juniors like Carolyn Gallagher returning next year which will help.

6. Bishop Loughlin (17-12)/(LW: 7): Loughlin, just like Molloy last year, missed out on the AA playoffs and then swept through the Class A playoffs on its way to its State Federation crown.

7. Murry Bergtraum (18-8)/(LW: 6): Murry Bergtraum won its 14th straight crown and will now try to make it 15 straight years next season. Freshman Ashanae McLaughlin looks like a star in the making in the PSAL.

8. McKee/SI Tech (25-3)/(LW: 8): MSIT had the best season in school history but will now have to try to continue that success without senior Kaityln Astel. Bringing back junior Kelin Walsh will help the Seagulls.

9. South Shore (21-6)/(LW: 9): South Shore had a good season but has to think it underachieved by not reaching the PSAL final. This team will be in the mix once again next year although it loses some key players.

10. Mary Louis (13-17)/(LW: 10): Mary Louis is buoyed by talented freshmen and will be a team to watch in the next few years. In two season, the Hilltoppers could be as good as any team in New York City.
The girls CHSAA crowned its State champs in Class A and Class B as Bishop Loughlin defeated Mary Louis and Cardinal O'Hara of Buffalo fell to Preston on Saturday.

Bishop Loughlin 56, Mary Louis Academy 46: Bishop Loughlin coach Kasim Alston believed his team had an extra player on the court during Saturday's CHSAA Class A State title game against Mary Louis Academy.

"Chicken's here," Alston said in reference to former player Tayshana "Chicken" Murphy, who was killed in September. "We played six on five, they didn't even know. I had six players on the court."

Fueled by the memory of their former teammate, Bishop Loughlin defeated Mary Louis Academy, 56-46, on Saturday at Christ the King. The Lady Lions (15-12) advance to the State Federation tournament in Albany in two weeks.

Alston wore a suit for most of the game but with his team up 18 late, he threw on a No. 15 jersey, the one that Murphy used to wear. He wore the jersey for about the final minute and a half as his team put the final touches on its win against Mary Louis, the third time in four tries it beat Mary Louis (13-17) this season.

The coach talked after the game how this was all part of his plan for when he became the head coach at the school. He envisioned he players he had coached in their youths would come to Bishop Loughlin and help develop a winning tradition. He said Murphy was part of that plan.

"It feels so good that everything is coming together as planned," Alston said. "Chicken is not here physically but she's here in spirit."

Loughlin trailed 26-24 at the half but used an impressive second half to grab the victory. It took a 40-32 lead into the third and never was truly challenged down the stretch. Senior Ayana Ratliff led Loughlin with 19 points.

"I just had to win," Ratliff said. "Our team had confidence in me, they gave me the ball and I did the best I can."

Cardinal O'Hara (Buffalo) 56, Preston 41: The Preston girls basketball team fell just short of winning the CHSAA Class B State title on Saturday, losing to Cardinal O'Hara, but their overall season was not lost on the mind of coach John Martin following the defeat.

"It's been tremendous. It's been a great year. They really came together all season and it's a tribute to their hard work and dedication to the program. I'm very happy with the season," Martin said. "We won the Archdiocesan, we won the City and we bring back most of our team. It's been a great year and we're looking forward to the future as well."

After winning the Archdiocesan crown and City title, the Panthers fell to Cardinal O'Hara of Buffalo, 56-41, on Saturday afternoon at Christ the King. The Panthers (25-6) never led in the game and trailed by double-digits for most of the final three quarters.

"They were very deep and they were very physical," Martin said. "I don't think we were used to the physical play and it took us a while to get adjusted to it. I think that had an impact. They were very up-tempo as well and a very good team, very strong."

Cardinal O'Hara led 13-6 after one and boosted the lead to 26-12 at halftime. Preston never truly challenged the Lady Hawks the rest of the way and fell one game short of heading to Albany to play for the State Federation title. Victoria Sorrell led Preston with 12 points.

Next season, Preston should be right back in the mix for the State and City titles. The team is primarily built of juniors and sophomores and this experience will benefit them going forward.

"They learned a lot this year," Martin said. "They learned how to play together very well and the experience we went through this year will only prepare them better for next season."

Girls basketball poll: Jan. 16

January, 16, 2012
Nazareth finally got back to action and over half the teams on this list took part in the Rose Classic at Bishop Ford this weekend, but the list remains mostly intact. MSIT was hard to drop off, but without playing elite opponents it's hard to justify putting them ahead of anyone included in the poll. Taking its place is Spellman who looks to have serious upset potential.

1. Nazareth (4-0)/(LW: 1): Nazareth finally returned to the court with an emotional victory over Molloy, before going to head coach Apache Paschall's wake on Friday funeral on Saturday. Now they have almost two weeks until they get back on the court against St. Francis Prep on Jan. 27.

2. South Shore (15-1)/(LW: 2): South Shore continues its march to Madison Square Garden as it picked up an impressive win against St. Anthony's at the Rose Classic on Sunday, coming from behind and getting some heroics from Fannisha Price.

3. Bishop Ford (11-1)/(LW: 3): Sophomore Aaliyah Jones is typically overlooked in her class thanks to Nazareth's Bianca Cuevas and Christ the King's Sierra Calhoun, but she might be as good as them and she is out to prove it as Ford picked up a pair of victories in the Rose Classic last week.

4. Molloy (9-3)/(LW: 4): It's hard to imagine that anybody would have beaten Nazareth on Wednesday so that loss won't be held against them. Molloy will have to beat Christ the King this week though to stay this high up in the poll.

5. Christ the King (4-7)/(LW: 5): Christ the King has had a very tough non-league schedule so far this season and that continued Sunday night as it lost to Manasquan (N.J.). The Lady Royals have a big week against league rivals Molloy and Mary Louis Academy this week which will give them good context to how they stack up against league opponents.

6. Moore (8-3)/(LW: 6): Jamie O'Hare may be one of the best shooters in the city. She showed off her skills in a victory over Mary Louis and was even impressive in a loss to HD Woodson (D.C.) when Moore ran into the buzzsaw that is Jephany Brown.

7. Bishop Loughlin (5-5)/(LW: 7): Loughlin had a tough loss to Teaneck (N.J.) on Sunday, but remain in this spot as Imani Tate showed everyone that she is one of the most dominant forces in New York City.

8. Bergtraum (9-4)/(LW: 9): Shequanna Harris is one of the stars in NYC and showed it again with a big victory over Truman last week. As she heats up, Bergtraum keeps winning.

9. Cardinal Spellman (10-2)/(LW: NR): This team is really starting to come together. Onia Webb and talented sophomore Maria Backman led the team to a pair of dominant wins at the Rose Classic last weekend.

10. Mary Louis Academy (6-8)/(LW: 10): In danger of dropping off the poll this week, TMLA hangs on though thanks to an impressive victory over Bishop Loughlin and anybody who can beat Imani Tate and Co. deserves a spot on here somewhere.

On the bubble: MSIT (14-1), Truman (13-4), JFK (12-5).

Girls basketball poll: Jan. 9

January, 9, 2012
It was certainly an interesting week to say the least. The death of Apache Paschall shocked the New York City girls basketball community and Bishop Ford and Christ the King decided to honor his death by refusing to play his Nazareth team. Nazareth desperate sought a replacement for its game on Saturday but found no takers. As a result there are very few changes this week, but with The Rose Classic Super Jam scheduled to take place next weekend that shouldn't last long.

1. Nazareth (3-0)/(LW: 1): Nazareth got a slow start to the season and now has missed out on its last three scheduled games. It stays atop the poll though on the girls talent alone.

2. South Shore (12-1)/(LW: 2): The Lady Vikings were impressive in destroying one of their biggest opponents in the PSAL in Truman.

3. Bishop Ford (9-1)/(LW: 3): Ford played without head coach Mike Toro, hospital with a panic attack, and Brittany Lewis or Brittany Martin, yet it still managed to beat DePaul Catholic (N.J.) this week.

4. Archbishop Molloy (8-2)/(LW: 4): Following Apache's motto of playing games no matter what the circumstances, Molloy's Amani Tatum led her team to a big win over Mary Louis Academy and Immaculate Conception (N.J.) this week.

5. Christ the King (2-6)/(LW: 5): Christ the King didn't play this week after backing out of a game against Nazareth. Still remain one of the top teams in the city.

6. Moore Catholic (6-2)/(LW: 6): Moore suffered its second loss of the season against North Hunterdon (N.J.), but there is no shame in losing that game against a team that feagures three D-I players.

7. Bishop Loughlin (5-3)/(LW: 7): A loss to St. John Vianney on Saturday was overshadowed by victories over East Orange and St. Francis Prep in the same week.

8. McKee/Staten Island Tech (11-1)/(LW: 8): MSIT gets overlooked because of its easy schedule, but the Seagulls keep on winning as they beat Susan Wagner on Thursday.

9. Murry Bergtraum (8-4)/(LW: NR): The Lady Blazers make their triumphant return to our poll. After a rough start to the season, they seem to have turned it around and are doing nothing but winning lately.

10. Mary Louis Academy (4-7)/(LW: 9): The Hilltoppers lost a big game against Molloy this week, but rebounded against Springside (P.A.). They have a tough game against Bishop Loughlin coming up that they probably need to win to stay on this poll.

On the bubble: Truman (11-4), Cardinal Spellman (7-2), and John F. Kennedy (11-5).

Paschall bonded with Mary Louis coach

January, 3, 2012
Through suffering, a pair of rival basketball coaches forged a connection.

As Nazareth girls basketball coach Apache Paschall, who died on Tuesday, battled skin cancer this fall and winter, he talked at times with Mary Louis girls basketball coach Joe Lewinger, who has a pair of six-year-old twins that had or currently have cancer. It allowed the two coaches to develop a relationship beyond that of two coaches competing for a title.

"You have a situation where I got to see a different side of him, a more personal side of him and he was very appreciative and I was asking if I can help him or offer advice," Lewinger said on Tuesday. "Call it whatever you want, there was a different form of a coaching relationship there."

Lewinger's pair of six-year-old twins, Madison and Jack, were both diagnosed in 2008 with Wilms' tumor, a form of kidney cancer. The coach said that Jack beat the cancer in 2009 while Madison relapsed twice and he is hopeful they now have it under control. Lewinger took a year off from coaching during the 2010 season as he attended to his kids' health and said that Paschall, then coaching at St. Michael Academy, would ask how Lewinger's children were doing.

When Lewinger found out that Paschall had been diagnosed with skin cancer in the fall, he sought out the Nazareth coach in hope of being able to lend a helping hand. Lewinger believed that he would be able to help out Paschall with his advice having watched and helped his two children as they battled cancer.

The coach said that he and Paschall had a bunch of private discussions about cancer and Paschall was very inquisitive at times.

"We both understood that we may be coaches and colleagues but at the same time we had the same struggle together," Lewinger said. "He was very appreciative of those discussions. There were times when he had no questions, there were times when he had some questions."

He added: "I hope the conversations helped. It was just advice. I'm not a doctor. I just told him some of the things about my dealings with cancer and having to be an advocate for my daughter and son and I wanted to make sure he was his own advocate. I hope they were beneficial in case of any decision he had to make."

Lewinger's team lost to Paschall's Nazareth squad earlier this season, Nazareth's first this campaign. The coach was thankful that his last conversation with Paschall was more on a personal level than one about their coaching lives. He said that Paschall's death is a big loss for New York City basketball.

"Apache always felt he was doing right by the kids and he was helping them go to college," Lewinger said. "He was very consistent with that message and I will always remember that he stuck to what his principles were."

Girls basketball poll: Jan. 2

January, 2, 2012
Same exact poll this week as no team deserved to fall out of the rankings this week. Let's look at the poll before a big week that will include a big game pitting Nazareth against Bishop Ford.

1. Nazareth (3-0)/(LW: 1): Nazareth demolished St. Francis Prep and had its game canceled against Lincoln.

2. South Shore (11-1)/(LW: 2): South Shore won the Diamond State Classic and defeated Mary Louis Academy and St. John the Baptist.

3. Bishop Ford (7-1)/(LW: 3): Bishop Ford had the week off and is preparing for its big game against Nazareth.

4. Molloy (6-2)/(LW: 4): Molloy snapped its two-game losing streak by beating Notre Dame Academy last week.

5. Christ the King (2-6)/(LW: 5): Christ the King got in the win column this week by winning a pair of games.

6. Moore Catholic (6-1)/(LW: 6): Moore Catholic had the week off and will return this week against North Unterdon.

7. Bishop Loughlin (3-2)/(LW: 7): Bishop Loughlin picked up a win against Lincoln this week to move above .500.

8. McKee/SI Tech (11-1)/(LW: 9): MSIT is now 11-1 after defeating Midwood at the Murry Bergraum tournament.

9. Mary Louis Academy (4-6)/(LW: 8): Mary Louis went 1-2 at the Diamond State Classic, falling to South Shore in the semifinals.

10. Truman (11-3)/(LW: 10): Truman went 3-0 at the Grand Street Campus tournament and is still in first in the PSAL Bronx/Manhattan/Queens Division.

Girls basketball poll: Dec. 26

December, 26, 2011
No changes to the poll this week as there were no upsets in New York City. In the biggest game of the week, Bishop Ford took down Molloy in a battle of two of the top teams in the CHSAA. This week, there's no real blockbuster between any of these teams. Let's check out the poll.

1. Nazareth (2-0)/(LW: 1): Nazareth stays in first and will return to the court Wednesday against St. Francis Prep.

2. South Shore (8-1)/(LW: 2): South Shore also had the week off and will head to an out-of-state tournament.

3. Bishop Ford (6-1)/(LW: 3): Bishop Ford is clearly the biggest challenge to Nazareth in the CHSAA after it defeated Molloy, adding to its already impressive resume that has wins over Christ the King and JFK.

4. Molloy (5-2)/(LW: 4): Molloy has lost two in a row after falling to Bishop Ford on the road.

5. Christ the King (0-6)/(LW: 5): CK hasn't won but four of those losses came in the nationally renowned Tournament of Champions in Arizona.

6. Moore Catholic (6-1)/(LW: 6): Moore Catholic won its first two games at its holiday tournament before forfeiting the tournament finale.

7. Bishop Loughlin (2-2)/(LW: 7): Bishop Loughlin will return to the court this week against Lincoln.

8. Mary Louis Academy (3-4)/(LW: 8): Mary Louis picked up a nice win against Cardinal Spellman and is inching closer to getting back to .500.

9. McKee/SI Tech (10-1)/(LW: 9): MSIT orchestrated a huge comeback to defeat Staten Island rival Curtis and is looking like the top team on Staten Island.

10. Truman (8-3)/(LW: 10): Truman defeated Benjamin Banneker to stay in first in the Bronx/Manhattan/Queens division in the PSAL.

Girls basketball poll: Dec. 19

December, 19, 2011
The story of the week in girls hoops has to be Bishop Ford, which is now 6-1 after beating New Jersey power St. John Vianney. Bishop Ford certainly looks like it will be one of the biggest threats this season to Nazareth, which also opened its season with two conference wins.

1. Nazareth (2-0)/(LW: 1): Nazareth played as everyone expected as it took care of Mary Louis Academy and Bishop Loughlin this past week.

2. South Shore (8-1)/(LW: 2): South Shore picked up a pair of nice wins in the PSAL with victories over Francis Lewis and Lincoln. South Shore is looking more and more like the best team in the league.

3. Bishop Ford (6-1)/(LW: 4): Bishop Ford is riding high with wins against Mary Louis, St. Francis and St. John Vianney this week. The Lady Falcons are a premier team in New York City.

4. Molloy (5-1)/(LW: 3): Molloy drops one spot for its loss on Sunday to Ossining, but that loss came just one day after a tough win against a very solid Bishop Loughlin club.

5. Christ the King (0-2)/(LW: 5): CK will be tested greatly in the Nike Tournament of Champions this week, with premier teams in the country in the field.

6. Moore Catholic (4-0)/(LW: 6): Moore Catholic secured a pair of wins over Maria Regina and St. Joseph Hill to get to 4-0 before it goes out of state for its holiday tournament.

7. Bishop Loughlin (2-2)/(LW: 7): Sorting out teams No. 7 through No. 10 is tricky. Loughlin stays put despite an 0-2 week because it had respective losses to the No. 1 and No. 4 team.

8. Mary Louis Academy (2-4)/(LW: 8): Same case for Mary Louis. It lost to Bishop Ford and Nazareth but beat Murry Bergtraum. We're not going to penalize too much for that.

9. McKee/SI Tech (8-1)/(LW: 10): MSIT lost its first game to an out-of-state opponent and now gets to face Staten Island rival Curtis this week.

10. Truman (7-3)/(LW: unranked): Truman had a great week with its win over JFK and beats out teams like Benjamin Banneker and Murry Bergtraum for the last spot.

Rapid Reax: No. 1 Nazareth 82, No. 8 MLA 63

December, 12, 2011
Bianca Cuevas stopped at the top of the arc, took a brief look at the defense and then drilled a three-pointer for Nazareth just 28 seconds into the game. It was Nazareth’s first possession and one of the most fluid baskets in game that didn’t have many.

But it started a run that saw Nazareth build a 14-point lead in the first quarter, a lead that Mary Louis chipped into but could never break during Nazareth’s 82-63 home victory in a showdown between two of the most highly-touted teams in New York City.

Many thought that Mary Louis would be big test for Nazareth, playing in its season opener. Cuevas didn’t think so though.

“We didn’t play to our ability,” the sophomore guard said. “We could have played better. We could have blew them out more.”

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Nazareth, ranked No. 1 in ESPN’s FAB 50 and's poll, jumped out to a 17-3 lead after Cuevas nailed the trey to start the game. But No. 8 Mary Louis made its on run led by Jasmine Nwajei (26 points), who sliced through Nazareth’s full-court pressure and forced her way to the basket, helping cut the lead down to four with five minutes left in the first half.

The Hilltoppers (1-3, 0-2 Brooklyn/Queens Division I) were still within five points with 1:40 left in the first half after back-to-back layups by Nwajei. But Nazareth (1-0, 1-0) forced three straight turnovers for three straight baskets and carried an 11-point lead and much of the momentum headed into halftime.

It only got worse from there. Mary Louis failed to convert a field goal in the third quarter, scoring seven points on free throws while Nazareth’s lead ballooned to as much as 23. From there, it became a free-throw shooting contest.

“We played right into their hands,” Nwajei said. “They tried to rush of with the press. We played right into it.”

STAR OF THE GAME: It’s hard to pick one player of the game but the gold star would go to Nazareth’s defense. It took three and a half minutes for Mary Louis to score its first field goal of the game and the Hilltoppers went without a basket in the third.

THE TRANSERS: A lot of the talks before the season for Nazareth centered around transfers Sadie Edwards (Our Lady of Mercy School in Connecticut), Destini Feagin (Ben Davis in Indiana) and Syracuse-bound Brianna Butler (William Penn Charter School in Pennsylvania), the ranked No. 13 in on ESPN’s Top 100 list. Edwards led Nazareth with 19 points, Butler scored 13 and Feagin struggled badly before fouling out with four points.

THE NUMBERS: For a game that was the highly anticipated, it was marred by whistles and bad shooting from the free-throw line.

54: total foul calls

31: total missed free throws (23 by Mary Louis)

3: the number of Nazareth players that fouled out

1: technical foul (called on Mary Louis coach Joe Lewinger)

0: Field goals by Mary Louis in the third quarter.

QUOTE OF THE GAME: Many considered Mary Louis, which has now lost to Bishop Loughlin and Nazareth before playing Bishop Ford Wednesday, the second-best team in the CHSAA behind Nazareth. Cuevas was asked if she thought her team made a statement with the decisive win.

“Yeah,” she said. “That we’re the best team in the league. I don’t think they’re the second-best team.”

UP NEXT: Mary Louis will visit Bishop Ford on Wednesday in search for its first league win. Nazareth will visit rising Bishop Loughlin.

Girls basketball poll: Dec. 12

December, 12, 2011
Things slowed down considerably this week in girls hoops. There weren't as many upsets and a lot of teams had very easy weeks, schedule wise. One important thing to note: the reigning and 13-time PSAL champion, Murry Bergtraum, has been ousted from the poll after its third loss of the year. Let's take a look at the poll.

1. Nazareth (0-0)/(LW: 1): Nazareth hosts Mary Louis Academy on Monday night and then will face Bishop Loughlin. Not an easy schedule to open up.

2. South Shore (5-1)/(LW: 3): South Shore is 5-1 and got some revenge against Murry Bergtraum with a win at home on Friday night. South Shore might be the team to beat in the PSAL this year.

3. Molloy (4-0)/(LW: 5): Molloy moves up two spots in the poll after picking up wins against Holy Trinity and St. Mary's this week. Molloy plays Loughlin in a big game this week.

4. Bishop Ford (3-1)/(LW: 7): Bishop Ford makes the biggest move in the poll as it jumps up to No. 4 after its impressive win against Christ the King last week.

5. Christ the King (0-2)/(LW: 2): CK is off to a rough start with losses to Bishop Ford and Archbishop Carroll but will be in the thick of things all year.

6. Moore Catholic (2-0)/(LW: 6): Moore Catholic defeated NDA to improve to 2-0 on the season. Two league games await this league before it leaves for a holiday tournament.

7. Bishop Loughlin (2-0)/(LW: 8): Bishop Louglin had an impressive win against Mary Louis but will be tested this week against Nazareth and Archbiship Molloy.

8. Mary Louis Academy (1-2)/(LW: 4): Mary Louis lost to Loughlin and will try to avoid its third loss of the season when it faces Nazareth on Monday night.

9. Benjamin Banneker (3-0)/(LW: 9): Banneker is 4-0 on the season after defeating Boys & Girls. The Lady Warriors face Francis Lewis and Brooklyn Collegiate this week in league play.

10. McKee/SI Tech (5-0)/(LW: unranked): MSIT is off to an undefeated start with a 4-0 record in league play. It beat CSIHS/McCown and New Dorp this week.

Girls basketball poll: Dec. 5

December, 5, 2011
After a hectic first week, the action slowed down this week with not as many upsets. Nazareth and Christ the King will both start their seasons this weekend and officially get all the teams underway in the city. We have some great matchups between top 10 teams this week.

1. Nazareth (0-0)/(LW: 1): Nazareth has a great game to open its season as it will host Mary Louis Academy on Saturday.

2. Christ the King (0-0)/(LW: 2): CK starts its season Monday as it heads to Bishop Ford for a showdown of two top 10 teams.

3. South Shore (3-1)/(LW: 3): South Shore is 3-1 with three league wins and one loss to a nationally ranked foe. It has a huge game at home against Bergtraum on Friday night.

4. Mary Louis Academy (1-1)/(LW: 4): Mary Louis had this week off from action and gets back to it with a road game against Bishop Loughlin on Monday night.

5. Molloy (2-0)/(LW: 5): Molloy picked up a quality win against a non-conference foe this weekend and takes on Holy Trinity this week.

6. Moore Catholic (1-0)/(LW: 6): Moore Catholic got its season started off with an impressive win at JFK on Saturday as it easily handled the Knights.

7. Bishop Ford (2-1)/(LW: 8): Bishop Ford moves up the rankings after defeating Sachem East on Saturday and hosts Christ the King on Monday.

8. Bishop Loughlin (1-0)/(LW: 7): Bishop Louglin had the week off and moves a spot down in the rankings with Bishop Ford winning. It gets to host Christ the King on Monday.

9. Benjamin Banneker (3-0)/(LW: 9): Banneker is now 3-0 on the season after wins against Midwood and Grand Street Campus.

10. Murry Bergtraum (2-2)/(LW: 10): Bergtraum picked up two wins this week to even its record heading into its big game against South Shore on Friday.

Girls basketball poll: Nov. 28

November, 28, 2011
Crazy might be the most appropriate word to describe the first week of girls basketball in New York City. Murry Bergtraum lost two games in a row. JFK and Francis Lewis also lost. Three teams fell out of the rankings. We can only hope each week from here on brings as much excitement as the first one.

1. Nazareth (0-0)/(LW: 1): Nazareth is still waiting to showcase its talents to the world after being ranked No. 1 in the nation to start the season.

2. Christ the King (0-0)/(LW: 2): CK looks more like the biggest threat to Nazareth in New York City with Bergtraum's losses.

3. South Shore (0-0)/(LW: 4): South Shore may be the new team to beat in the PSAL with Bergtraum uncharacteristically losing twice.

4. Mary Louis Academy (1-1)/(LW: 5): Mary Louis went 1-1 at the Big Apple vs. Big Peach Battle, falling in its final game.

5. Molloy (1-0)/(LW: 6): Molloy moves up one spot in the ranking after defeating Sacred Heart in its opener this weekend.

6. Moore Catholic (0-0)/(LW: 8): Without even playing a game, Moore Catholic moves all the way up to No. 6 in the rankings.

7. Bishop Loughlin (1-0)/(LW: unranked): Perhaps we underrated Loughlin. Loughlin defeated Murry Bergtraum on a last-second play this weekend.

8. Bishop Ford (1-1)/(LW: unranked): Bishop Ford enters the rankings after a win against JFK. It fell to St. Anthony's on Sunday.

9. Benjamin Banneker (1-0)/(LW: unranked): Did Banneker send a message to the rest of the league with its win against Murry Bergtraum?

10. Murry Bergtraum (0-2)/(LW: 3): This is weird to see, Murry Bergtraum ranked 10th. But after losing two games, they fall out of the top three.

Girls basketball poll: preseason

November, 21, 2011
Welcome to the first poll of the girls basketball season. As expected, the defending state champs Nazareth are on top and there are plenty of familiar names in this poll. Here's your first look at the top teams in New York City.

1. Nazareth (0-0): When you can send out an entire team full of future Division I players on to the court, you've got a pretty good squad.

2. Christ the King (0-0): CK might not be as talented as last year's team but still will be budding with talent and a top team in the city.

3. Murry Bergtraum (0-0): Bergtraum might not have the star-studded cast like the past but never count out a team coached by Ed Grezinsky.

4. South Shore (0-0): South Shore is hoping to end Bergtraum's run of 13-straight PSAL titles this upcoming season.

5. Mary Louis Academy (0-0): A strong blend of freshman and veterans should help Mary Louis play with the city's elite this season.

6. Molloy (0-0): The defending CHSAA Class "A" champions have a new coach but return a solid nucleus for this upcoming season.

7. JFK (0-0): JFK just could not beat Murry Bergtraum last year. Will it be able to change its luck this upcoming season?

8. Moore Catholic (0-0): The Mavericks have two Division-I players in Christina Rubin and Jamie O'Hare but need more from the other three spots.

9. Francis Lewis (0-0): The Patriots will try to build off a run to the PSAL semifinals last season with a nice cast returning to lead the way.

10. McKee/SI Tech (0-0): MSIT had a great season last year and should be in the thick of things in the PSAL race once again.

Girls basketball preview

November, 21, 2011
Basketball season is upon us. Here at, we break down the top teams, players and games to get you prepared for the upcoming season.


Nazareth: Despite graduating three Division-I players, the Lady Kingsmen should once again be the team to beat in the city. Transfer students Brianna Butler, Sadie Edwards, and Destini Feagin will join a formidable core that includes floor general Darius Faulk and the young sharpshooter Bianca Cuevas.

Christ the King: There is no doubt that the Royals took a hit with the loss of Player of the Year Bria Smith, but she left behind one of the best core groups in the city. Sophomore Sierra Calhoun will have to take on a larger role and will have Lauren Nuss, Rayne Connell, and Taylor Butigan returning as support.

Murry Bergtraum: The Blazers will be playing this season with heavy hearts as their expected leader, Tayshana "Chicken" Murphy, was killed this past September. They will try to use her memory as motivation as Shequana Harris will try to lead them to their 14th consecutive PSAL title.

South Shore: Seniors Fannisha Price and Jenice Winter have now gotten to Madison Square Garden twice and lost both times. Head coach Anwar Gladden said that he has never seen such a focused group as they are determined to get back and win it all this time.


Moore Catholic: Mavericks head coach Rich Postiglione admitted that he was concerned about his team as they transition from a more physical one to one that is about shooting and speed. Luckily for him, he has two of the best shooters on Staten Island in Jamie O'Hare, who transferred from the now closed St. Peter's, and Christina Rubin.

Mary Louis: The Hilltoppers lost a key player in Karin Robinson, but guards Reana Mohamed and Jasmine Nwajei are returning and if talented freshmen Mei Lyn Bautista and Jordan Agustus can contribute, TMLA should be among the strongest teams in the city.

Archbishop Molloy: The Stanners have a talented squad lead by Amani Tatum and Carolyn Gallagher, but they will have to adjust to new coach Scott Lagas, a new system, and injuries to two players Alexa Dietrich and Dallas Pralle, who should be out until at least January.

JFK: The Lady Knights went 10-2 last year and only lost in the PSAL semifinals to eventual champion Bergtraum. That’s important because they only graduated three seniors and have starters Joyalevern Mcfarland, Deaisia Acklin, and Leshuana Phinazee returning.


Francis Lewis : The Patriots are very similar to JFK in that they were both good teams last year that made it to the semifinals and have key starters returning. Coach Stephen Tsai said that seniors Jasmine Davis, Tyese Purvis, and Jazmine Hamlet display such strong leadership that they are often seen helping him run practices.

McKee/SI Tech: Curtis is the sexy pick for the best PSAL team in Staten Island, but Seagulls head coach Peter LaMarca isn’t ready to cede the island. He has four starters coming back including Kaitlyn Astel, whom he called one of the top 10 players in the city and perhaps the most underrated.

Bishop Ford
: The Falcons didn't like how their season went last year and nearly the same squad is returning this year to prove that it was a fluke. Point guard Aaliyah Lewis will lead this team offensively, but she will need Shanice Vaughan, Ajannae Gates, and Jeane Jennings to step up their games as well to prove their doubters wrong.

Benjamin Banneker: As a sophomore last season, Africa Williams lead the entire PSAL with 29.06 points per game and coach Jonathan Anderson said she is just getting better with age. She joins captain and junior Jenipher Rodriguez and "secret weapon" sophomore Diara Adger to form a core that will be strong this year and next.


Nazareth guard Darius Faulk; Nazareth guard Brianna Butler; Christ the King guard Sierra Calhoun; Murry Bergtraum guard Shequana Harris; South Shore forward Fannisha Price; St. Peter's guard Jamie O'Hare; MSIT guard Kaitlyn Astel; JFK guard Joy McFarland; Molloy forward Carolyn Gallagher; Mary Louis guard Reana Mohamed


Chris the King at Nazareth—Dec. 3
Murry Bergtraum at South Shore—Dec. 9
Murry Bergtraum vs. Mary Louis Academy—Dec. 18
South Shore at JFK—Jan. 20
Nazareth at Mary Louis Academy—Feb. 1

Top 10 Girls poll

March, 21, 2011
Just one more weeks remains. By Sunday night, high school basketball will be over and the New York State Federation Champions will be crowned.

1. Nazareth (28-3/LW: 1): Nazareth will face the winner of Murry Bergtraum vs. Cicero-North Syracuse winner for the title Sunday.

2. Murry Bergtraum (22-3/LW: 2): Murry Bergtraum will face Cicero North Syracuse Saturday afternoon with a berth to the semifinals on the line. Cicero-North Syracuse features one of the nation’s best players in Breanna Stewart, who has committed to UConn.

3. Christ the King (21-9/LW: 3): Were the Royals simply just not as good as Nazareth this season or did they not perform to their capabilities? That’s the question coach Bob Mackey has to find the answer to.

4. South Shore (23-6/LW: 4): South Shore coach Anwar Gladden wasn’t happy with the referees against Murry Bergtraum, but the Lady Blazers were the better team last Sunday in the championship.

5. Moore Catholic (23-5/LW: 5): With St. Peter’s gone, does Moore Catholic become the school to beat on Staten Island? We think so.

6. Mary Louis Academy (19-9/LW: 6): The Hilltoppers turned it on in the postseason but got a bad draw against Nazareth. The Hilltoppers were 0-4 vs. Nazareth this year.

7. St. Peter’s (21-8/LW: 7): The process of choosing news schools will be a tough one for the St. Peter's girls.

8. JFK (18-10/LW: 8): JFK plays with a swagger instilled from head coach O’Neil Glenn and that will serve the team well in the future.

9. Francis Lewis (18-7/LW: 9): Getting to the PSAL semifinals was a start, but they probably didn’t expect to get blown out last week.

10. Archbishop Molloy (16-13/LW: 10): Molloy will meet Wings Academy Friday in the semifinals.